Hospital and laundry and steak adventure
Our last weekend in Delhi we had planned to go see some of the big sights we had missed previously due to being
sick lazy otherwise preoccupied. These plans came to a screeching halt on Thursday night when Jason started complaining of being sicker than normal (WHY IS THERE A NORMAL AMOUNT OF SICK HERE) and started shaking and had a fever. We decided to take him to the doctor the next day and make sure he wasn’t dying.
On the recommendation of Chetana, we went to Apollo Hospital. We expected only the worse after hearing stories of hospitals with black walls, doctors with bloodstained shoes, and employees eating off of the floor, but Chetana assured us that this was the one she and her parents went to and it would be fine. We got there and indeed, besides the occasional pigeon flying near the ceiling, it was actually very reminiscent of American Hospitals I’ve seen. After standing in some rather aggressive queues and shoving paperwork forcibly into overworked attendants faces (why can’t we just wait in a normal line??), we eventually got from the ER to an internal medicine doctor who diagnosed Jason with strep throat and then to some perfectly sterile looking blood work (which we will never know the results of because there is “ABSOLUTELY NO WAY” they would tell us on the phone. We would have to go back.)
The expansive doctor’s office.
The crowded general waiting area.
We then filled his prescription at the hospital pharmacy which was sort of nice because apparently there was a “foreign patient” attendant who would cut the chaotic prescription payment line for you (how could she know we were foreign??). Who was introduced to me by a very friendly South African guy studying for his masters in Delhi.
The pharmacy only had two of the three drugs we were supposed to get so we decided to try to get it at our local pharmacy (or “chemist”). But we couldn’t read the handwriting of the doctor (apparently this is universal) so we had to get her to explain what it was.
Finally we made it home and we melted on to our couch. The whole thing was about $80 which sure isn’t bad for a hospital visit but we will still try to claim it on our health insurance.
The next day I was pretty sick too, but not as sick as Jason so I went to run the numerous errands that always seem to overwhelmingly pile up before you leave a city. I sent 5 international packages, recharged our phone minutes/data, made a copy of Jason’s entire passport for the insurance claim (Why do they need the whole thing? There are like 8 blank pages!), printed out ticket information for our 1239410 train rides this month, and then after all of those errands we realized we had to do a whole lot of laundry and really quickly so it would dry by the next morning. Thus began our frantic search for laundromat in Delhi. Apparently this is a very new concept (if you want an amusing read, click here) but with a few internet searches and several more frustrating phone calls we found one that was open till 10.
I headed out with the address in mind but once we got to the neighborhood where it was supposed to be, everyone told me it didn’t exist. So we drove around on sketchy directions that were given in the largest collection of tiny, pothole ridden alleys I’ve ever encountered (which maybe isn’t saying that much…). This was probably the most frantic I’ve ever been in Delhi. The driver did not speak English, I was in a part of Delhi that I would never be able to find my way out of, and everyone thought the place I was looking for didn’t exist. So I called the laundromat 3 times and eventually on the third time (even though I asked all three times) the store attendant gave my driver directions. AT LAST! We found the place and I paid the driver super well because he turned down other customers while waiting on me to figure out where the crap I was going and probably needs new suspension now.
Once I got there, the laundry went smoothly (I actually typed this entire post on my phone while sitting there….but then lost it) and so did the ride home, but I was super exhausted from being sick and having such a stressful ride earlier. Jason was feeling much better by now and agreed to cook steak for dinner—one we had been saving for something special like our last night in Delhi.
Well, like most things in India, this did not turn out as planned. Whatever the heck kind of meat I got formed a white crusty layer on the outside and smoked like crazy. When he finally deemed it done, we sat down and cut into it, it was extremely tough. This might have been overlooked but when we tasted it, it was like eating pure salt. As soon as we took a bite we spit it back out. It was SO BAD. WTF. WHAT IS THIS MEAT FOR? We were left with only broccoli (okay) and french fries (awesome) for dinner, but we wanted something additional. Since we had gotten rid of most of our food due to our leaving for a month, we eventually decided on cereal and opened our new box of Special K. BUT IT WAS INDIAN SPECIAL K. I.E. wheat (not rice) based and covered in sugar. Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal but after that long, vexing day I just wanted my regular Special K.
The next day was Sunday, the day we were scheduled to leave. Jason felt almost well again and I felt rather less than well. But we decided to push on anyway, and now here we are in Bharatpur. The train ride was fine and the owner of the hotel found us and drove us a bit outside of the town to our room for the night. It is so pleasant here compared to Delhi—there are fields everywhere which means GREEN! and there aren’t any buildings blocking the view of the sky, so it’s as if the horizon has expanded all at once. Tomorrow we are going to the bird reserve nearby (have I mentioned I like birds?) and maybe to an old Mughal palace. Hopefully I will also feel a bit better.